This marks the second season in a row that the Patriots will play host to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs, and this will be the fourth game in past three years- who knows, maybe this Andrew Luck character can keep the rivalry alive?
Of course, the Patriots have won all three prior games by an average score of 48-22.
New England has opened as 7 point favorites over the Colts, which is on par with the spread offered against the Ravens in the Divisional Round.
How have the Patriots been able to attack the Colts in the past?
Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount combined for 367 rushing yards and 8 TDs in the past two games against the Colts.— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) January 12, 2015
In fact, if you look at the past two games, the Patriots have tallied 480 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdown on 90 carries (5.33 yards per carry).
The Patriots haven't needed to pass against the Colts, but they've had success when they've tried. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, unavailable in last year's playoffs, has 238 yards and 3 touchdowns in his past two games against the Colts. Smaller receivers like Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Wes Welker have combined for 362 yards, or over 120 yards a game. Outside receiver Brandon LaFell picked up 62 yards against the Colts earlier this year.
New England's offense is balanced enough that they can attack the Colts at all levels of the secondary, while also attacking on the ground to set up a few home run throws.
The Patriots will likely be missing rookie center Bryan Stork this week, so expect Ryan Wendell to play center while Josh Kline steps in at right guard; luckily for the Patriots the Colts defensive interior is less stout than the Broncos, so this glaring replacement won't be as bad as it could have been.
Earlier in the year, the Patriots played rookie Cameron Fleming as an extra blocker for a fair portion of the game, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him receive extra time on the field to pave the way for the Patriots rushing attack.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Hopefully the Patriots coaches don't overthink the offensive game plan and will physically attack the Colts in a way that Indianapolis can't scheme away.
Or who knows. Maybe Tim Wright will pick up 250 yards through the air.